Four extraordinary female composers are brought to life in Leah Broad’s new group biography Quartet – listen to a reading from this fascinating book enhanced with a bespoke violin and piano recital.

Ethel Smyth, Rebecca Clarke, Dorothy Howell and Doreen Carwithen have long been ghostly presences, surviving only as muses and footnotes to male contemporaries like Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Britten – until now.

This evening Fenella Humphreys and Nicola Eimer play music by all four women, while Leah Broad reads from the book, including the stories of Smyth’s suffrage involvement and Howell’s breakthrough success at the 1919 Proms. The book recounts lives of rebellion, heartbreak and ambition, and celebrates their musical masterpieces.

Photograph of Leah Broad by Monika Tomiczek

Ethel Smyth:
Allegro Moderato from Sonata Op.7 (9’)
Doreen Carwithen:
Allegro con Moto from Sonata for Violin and Piano (8’)
Rebecca Clarke:
Midsummer Moon (6’)
Rebecca Clarke:
Sonata Movement in G major
Dorothy Howell:
The Moorings
Dorothy Howell:
Andante from Sonata for Violin and Piano
Ethel Smyth:
Finale from Sonata Op.7 (6’)

Dr Leah Broad author/reader
Fenella Humphreys
Nicola Eimer piano

Magnificently expands the story of classical music

Andrew Motion, on Quartet

Fenella Humphreys and Nicola Eimer standing in a street posing.